If you’re following along with the 52 Week Savings Challenge and trying to $ta$h $ome Ca$h, but are frustrated by the seemingly slow progress from only saving a few dollars each week, it can be easy to think, “Why Bother? I already gave up my latte habit and I still only have a couple of dollars to stash each week. What’s the point of saving when I can save so little?”
It’s a fair, frustrating point. If you read Will Skipping My Daily Latte Make Me a Millionaire? then you know that saving, and eventually investing, $20 per week over time can amount to over half a million dollars. But if you have only $2-3 per week to save, is it worth it?
YES! Absolutely, yes! Here are three reasons to save, even if you can only afford to save a little.
You have to save something in order to have some savings.
Lots of people ignore this seemingly obvious fact. If you’re frustrated by the zero balance in your savings, you have to start someplace. As we chatted about last week, if you don’t save any money at all then you can’t expect the savings to magically materialize from thin air. You must save something…anything…to get started. As you watch a jar fill up with spare change you’ll be encouraged to save a bit more. Once the jar is full and you have a little sum to put in a bank account, you’ll feel more confident. It’s so much easier to build on something, even a little something, rather than nothing.
When I was a girl, my father kept a change dish on his dresser. Each evening he’d empty his pockets and put any spare change in the dish. When the dish was full, he’d bring it to the kitchen table and divide it between my sister and me. Then we’d count the change, fill out our deposit slips, and Mom or Dad would drive us to the bank to add a couple of dollars in change to our savings accounts. My sister and I thought we were rich, and by the time we went to university, you’d be surprised how much spare change we had accumulated in those accounts. (Thanks, Dad & Mom!) But we didn’t start with hundreds of dollars a month. We started with Dad’s spare change.
You will build a habit of saving.
When my son was born my husband and I opened a savings account for him and started depositing $5 from each of my husband’s paychecks. It was all we could afford at the time. As our situation improved, we were able to add a bit more, and then a bit more. As my son and his little sister grew up, they knew they had savings accounts, learned to handle the deposit slips and bank books, and eventually added their own savings earned from mowing yards and babysitting. My husband and I learned to save by practicing and we taught it to our children first by example, then by allowing them to practice. And it all started with only $5 per paycheck.
You will start to sacrifice to save more.
Success breeds success, or so they say. Saving spare change is relatively painless. Saving $5 per paycheck when you’re struggling to pay the bills it harder. Saving hundreds each month for university tuition or retirement is a greater challenge.
As you see your change jar (or 52 Week Challenge jar) fill up, you’ll be encouraged and even rather proud of yourself. You’ll want to save more to build up that savings account you’ve started and you’ll start to look for ways to do it.
You’ll reconsider how much you enjoy that daily coffee shop latte (or whatever) compared to the satisfaction of watching your bank (or investment) account grow. You’ll learn to do things that you used to hire somebody else to do, like change your oil or paint the kitchen, and will be proud of your accomplishment of a job well done in addition to the amount saved. You’ll find and reach for your “Why?” and make it a priority until it becomes a reality!
(Read more about understanding “Why” you budget here.)
So yes, yes, YES you should save something, even if it’s not much. If you think my claim that watching a change jar fill up can be fun is crazy, then I dare you to try it! I have been surprised at how much I’m enjoying filling up my 52 Week Savings Challenge jar with not only the challenge deposits but also spare change. I can’t wait to see how much I end up with at the end of the year and I really can’t wait to show it to my husband so we can decide together what to do with it. Anticipating the choice is turning out to be a lot of fun!
Here’s the 52 Week Savings Challenge chart once again. Right click on the image to save it to your computer for printing. You can either catch up to this week or just ignore the dates and start at week one…you choose! Let’s $ta$h $ome Ca$h together. Even if you only save $2 per week from now until the end of the year, you’ll have enough cash to open a savings account at the beginning of 2018.
Are you $ta$hing Ca$h this year? Why is saving money important to you?
This is the part where I remind you that I’m not a financial advisor, just a mom who is sharing her experience in the spirit of having a chat with a friend over a cup of coffee. Your investment results may vary from the examples given. If you require financial or investment advice, please seek the counsel of a professional advisor.
I moderate comments manually but will get them posted as quickly as possible. Please keep your comments kind and if you must disagree please do so without being disagreeable. Rude or inappropriate comments will obviously not be published.